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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther System
Here is one problem I encountered, but solved. I use multiple browsers, especially testing out nightly builds of Firebird, etc, as does my husband, who also tests out email clients, like Thunderbird. So, naturally, we use the Internet Pref Pane in the System Prefs, a lot ... and in Panther, it's gone! After much searching about, it finally dawned on me- if you want to change your default browser or email client, here is how:
  • Browser: Launch the version of Safari that installs with Panther, (1.1 v100), and visit the preferences. Choosing the default browser is the first preference.

  • Email Client: Launch the version of Mail that installs with Panther, (1.3 v606), and visit the Preferences. Choosing the default email reader is the first pref.
Drawback: if you are like me, you may have deleted the Mail app from your system. You will need Safari and Mail to reside on your system, whether you use them or not if you want to change your default email and browser apps in future.

[robg adds: This is a basic hint, but this change is very confusing if you're migrating from 10.2. I don't know why Apple chose to move these settingsi into the applications (force Apple application usage?), but I think it was a poor decision. Why would you expect to set a default application from within another application?]
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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther | 11 comments | Create New Account
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MoreInternet PrefPane
Authored by: deleted_user18 on Oct 29, '03 12:27:52PM

There is a PrefPane called MoreInternet which allows you to manipulate the default application for every mime type. Including E-Mail and Webbrowsing. I think it is freeware, you can find it at

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New IC-Switch may be easier
Authored by: pete on Oct 29, '03 01:13:44PM

Not having Panther yet - still not in the boonies, you might want to give IC-Switch a try. It puts up a menu item where you can switch Mail, News, FTP & Browser quite easily. If you don't like the menu item, just quit the app after selecting your pref's. Looks good to me.

It can be found at

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MoreInternet PrefPane
Authored by: aranor on Oct 30, '03 07:46:33PM
A Plausible Argument
Authored by: nicksay on Oct 29, '03 01:03:02PM

Rob's comment at the bottom of the hint question's Apple's decision to move the default application settings into the applications themselves, thinking it may be to force Apple application usage.

Perhaps. I don't think that's it though. The old preference pane system only allowed a few default applications to be set, those handling mail and web protocols. There are a myriad of other protocols whose default application therfore could not be set (e.g. afp, daap, file, finger, ftp, gopher, news, etc, etc). I think what Apple has chosen to do is move the responsibility of chosing the default application for that protocol to the applications that use that protocol. Thus, it would make sense that any mail program can now set the default application for the mailto protocol. Any web browser can now set the default application for the http protocol, and so on.

The converse approach would have been to extend the preference pane to handle all the protocols (like the 3rd party "More Internet" preference pane mentioned above). I think Apple thought that so many protocols, most (if not all) of which are not changed by the average user, would bog down and confuse said average user.

Just a thought.

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A Plausible Argument
Authored by: Anidel on Oct 30, '03 12:55:38AM

Actually I think that the Image Capture app was already doing the same. You had to run it in order to be able to change the default application to run when pluggin-in a digital camera.


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Plausable arguement...
Authored by: jriskin on Oct 29, '03 06:42:48PM

While I agree that you are probably right, there intention was probably to move responsibility to the applications, I think its a bad idea. Here is why...

On windows rogue applications OFTEN decide that they are now the owner of some protocol or file type. While possibly convenient, I really think for security reasons it should require either a popup user window authorization or even admin authorization to do it.

I think what you mentioned about expanding the preference to include all mime types/protocols is good. But you should also add the authorization pop-ups so that applications could make it a bit more seamless. In the long run this would provide a good balance of seamless operation plus secuirty.

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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther
Authored by: jonahlee on Oct 29, '03 11:43:22PM

Personally I think that Apple has made an awful decision in removing the Internet Control panel, and I quickly have complained to Apple about it, and hope others do so.

To me you should be able to set the system wide settings in the location where you set the rest of the system wide settings, in the System Preferences. Moving this to applications seems to me to be a way to force users to at least try out Apple applications, which I don't think you should be forced into. And yes there are 3rd party applications that allow you to set protocals, but they are not as easy to set and don't have the pop up menu's with all your web browsers and e-mail programs, and it seems Apple no longer cares to let you set the default Newsreader at all unless you use a third party utility.

Fine if Apple wants us to be able to set the default mail, browser and download locations in their own apps, but they should leave us the ability to set them in the universal location that has been the location that we set these settings in, not only in OS X, but also in OS 9.

- Jonah Lee

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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther
Authored by: Wonko9 on Nov 02, '03 04:40:24AM

My problem isn't the hassle of not being able to set the default Browser or Mail client, but setting the default Outgoing Mail Server. Other applications rely on this information. For example, Kung-Log looks there to see what outgoing mail server it should use. There is no DEFAULT outgoing mailserver in Mail, so there is no way for Kung-Log (or any other application) to know what to use. Removing the Internet Control Panel was a bad idea.

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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther
Authored by: tremblyj on Dec 08, '04 12:28:34PM

John Trembly
Information Technology
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
Mississauga, Ont, Canada

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Authored by: sjk on Dec 10, '04 10:44:37AM
I use and recommend RCDefaultApp for setting default apps.

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10.3: Setting default web and mail clients in Panther
Authored by: codeman38 on May 14, '05 11:38:53PM
The silliest part of the preference for default mail client being in Mail is that you can't access the preference until you've created an account in Mail. I surely would've thought this would be fixed by Tiger, but no, you still have to create an account in order to even get to the Preferences window. D'oh!

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